VotePA CALLS ON
REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS TO WITHDRAW LEGAL CHALLENGES TO CANDIDATES
August 11, 2010 -- VotePA announced
today that it is urging both major political parties and their
candidates to withdraw legal challenges filed this week against
the nomination papers of third party and independent candidates,
unless the challengers are claiming willful election fraud.
Challenging candidate nominations
in a court of law is serious business that can hurt the democratic
process for everyone. Legal challenges should be reserved for
situations with clear evidence of deliberate petitioning fraud
or other lawbreaking. Challenges should never be allowed to appear
as a partisan attempt by one political party or candidate to
manipulate, suppress, or remove the nominations of another. Pennsylvania's
system needs to be changed to prevent this.
Recent years have seen numerous
legal challenges to the nominating petitions of potential candidates
in Pennsylvania. These have taken up valuable court time and
have been costly to election officials in terms of resources
and staff time during the crucial period when ballots are being
prepared. While some petition challenges
occurred within the two major parties, many recent challenges
have come from the major parties and their candidates against
nomination filings of third parties or independents who under
state law must collect a much larger number of signatures to
qualify for the ballot. That number varies widely from year to
Nationwide, Pennsylvania is
seen as one of the most problematic and restrictive states in
terms of the nominating procedure for candidates, especially
those who are representing third parties or who are independent.
Pennsylvania's system for nominating
third party and independent candidates is broken. When a large
portion of nominations are routinely challenged in every election
it becomes a counterproductive game that discourages participation.
VotePA's membership strongly supports ballot access reform, and
we urge the Governor and State Legislature to enact legislation
for an improved nomination process for Pennsylvania's elections
such as Senator Mike Folmer's bipartisan Voter's
Choice Act (currently SB
252.) Political parties large and small will benefit, but
the most important winners will be the voters of Pennsylvania.
About VotePA: We are a statewide
alliance dedicated to voting rights and election integrity. As
a grassroots citizen group we count registered voters of five
different political parties and non-partisan voters among our
membership, united by belief in the right of every eligible citizen
to vote for candidates of his or her choice and to have every
vote counted accurately.